Prudential Financial Jumps on First Profit in 5 Quarters

Prudential Financial Inc., the No. 2 U.S. life insurer, posted the biggest gain in the 81-company Standard & Poor’s 500 Financials Index after reporting its first profit in five quarters.

The insurer jumped 4 percent to $85.08 at 12:40 p.m. in New York. Shares advanced 60 percent this year, more than twice the gain of the S&P 500 Index.

Prudential’s third-quarter results swung to net income of $1.04 billion from a $584 million loss a year earlier, the Newark, New Jersey-based company said late yesterday in a statement. Operating profit, which excludes some investments and the results of policies sold before the firm went public, was $2.94 a share, beating the $2.11 average estimate of 20 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Results included “solid asset-management earnings, good international margins, even after one-time adjustments, and favorable expense control,” Randy Binner, an analyst with FBR Capital Markets, said in a note to investors.

Per-share adjusted operating earnings are projected to be $8.75 to $9.25 per share next year, Prudential said today in a regulatory filing. That compares with an average estimate of $9.11 in a Bloomberg survey of 21 analysts.

Chief Executive Officer John Strangfeld benefited from results at an insurer he acquired from Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. and returns on assets he added in pension deals with General Motors Co. and Verizon Communications Inc.

“Prudential has never performed better,” Strangfeld said on a conference call with analysts today.

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